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Irish company to manage heart of .org
Tuesday, October 15 2002
by Matthew Clark

in association with
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Following the reassignment of .org to the Internet Society, the technical heart of the top-level domain will be run by an Irish company.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, said this week that the Internet Society (ISOC) was its choice to take control of the administration of the .org domain beginning 01 January.

ISOC has established a new not-for-profit organisation, the Public Interest Registry, to manage the domain designed for not-for-profit organisations. The Internet Society is a professional membership society with more than 150 organisational and 11,000 individual members in over 182 countries.

Dublin-based Afilias will handle back-end services on .org for the Internet Society. Afilias, which administers the .info domain, will now manage technical aspects including billing, technical support and customer support for .org. Already Afilias provides registry services to support the .vc ccTLD (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and is an affiliate of AusRegistry Pty. Ltd., the registry operator for the com.au, net.au, asn.au, id.au and org.au second level domains.

A spokesperson for Afilias said that ICANN's decision to hand over the existing 2.3 million .org addresses, and any future ones, would mean "greater financial stability" for the company and would result in a few new jobs at its technical centre in Tornado, Canada. All of Afilias' exiting technical operations are carried out by its Canadian back-end services subsidiary, LibertyRMS, which was acquired by the firm in early 2002.

The Afilias spokesperson said service would not be interrupted during the transition, and ISOC and Afilias said they had already begun planning for the technical transition and expect "that it will be virtually invisible to .org users."

Part of the bid for the domain by the two included a number of proposed upgrades for .org, including heightened security measures and a domain name watch service, to prevent cybersquatting and other unwanted behaviour. It is also expected that the ISOC will encourage .org name holders to offer feedback on what kinds of additional services and options are desired by users.

Afilias said it also plans to introduce an improved system for adding new addresses to the Internet's network of domain name servers that will propagate new addresses worldwide in about two minutes, compared to the current timeframe of 36 hours.

VeriSign controlled .org previously, but last year the firm hammered out a deal with ICANN that allowed VeriSign to retain control of the more popular .com and .net addresses in exchange for its surrendering of .org. VeriSign also said it would contribute as much as USD5 million to assist in the handover.

Founded in 1991, the Internet Society is also home of two important Internet standards-setting bodies, the Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Architecture Board.

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